30 arrested at anti-coal protest in West Virginia

    NASA climatologist James Hansen (center) gets arrested at West Virginia anti-coal protest yesterday.
    NASA climatologist James Hansen (center) gets arrested at West Virginia anti-coal protest yesterday.

    Hundreds of anti-coal/anti-mountaintop removal activists gathered for a historic protest in Coal River Valley, West Virginia yesterday. The top headlines are that NASA climatologist James Hansen, actress Daryl Hannah and 94-year-old former WV congressman Ken Hechler were among 30 arrested for sitting down on a highway outside of Massey Energy, the leading mountaintop removal coal mining company. A large number of coal supporters also showed up and were described as being aggressive toward the other rally participants. Coal River Mountain Watch co-director Judy Goldman was reportedly hit in the face by a Massey supporter, who was apprehended by police just before attempting to assault a coal miner’s widow/community activist.

    Here are a couple jumping off points from this action:

    Charleston Gazette staff writer Ken Ward Jr. blogged about the action, raising the point that both sides of the coal debate could claim a victory yesterday. This leads to a number of important questions, namely “So what next?” but also, “What about the miners? Who can argue that they don’t have a right to stand up for their jobs and their families?” The Gazette blog offers some good analysis.

    Robert Kennedy Jr. helped rally protesters for the yesterday’s action while at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee over the weekend, telling the crowd, “Let’s get arrested!” However, I haven’t seen any reference to him being at the protest.

    James Hansen has agreed to debate Massey Energy President Don Blankenship later this week.

    -Hansen also wrote a plea to President Obama to put an end to mountaintop coal mining.

    Video of 94-year-old former WV Congressman Ken Hechler talking about why he’s become a “hell raiser.”



    Recent Stories

      How Sudan’s protesters upped the ante and forced al-Bashir from power

      April 17, 2019

      The Sudanese people took to the streets for more than a struggling economy. They were calling for freedom, peace, justice and the downfall of the regime.

      • Analysis

      Progressive coalition boycotts ‘woke-washing’ of San Francisco event space

      April 13, 2019

      Activists are confronting a San Francisco event space with a self-proclaimed “social justice” mission over gentrification and its owner’s outspoken Zionism.

      • Column

      The world’s happiest people already have a Green New Deal, and they love it

      April 10, 2019

      Green New Deal advocates in the United States should look to the Nordic countries for inspiration on how to overcome the 1 percent and address climate change.